The real world serves to distract. I just was immensely distracted by Hamming's speech on achieving greatness
"You've got to work on important problems. I deny that it is all luck, but I admit there is a fair element of luck. I subscribe to Pasteur's ``Luck favors the prepared mind.'' I favor heavily what I did. Friday afternoons for years - great thoughts only - means that I committed 10% of my time trying to understand the bigger problems in the field, i.e. what was and what was not important. I found in the early days I had believed `this' and yet had spent all week marching in `that' direction. It was kind of foolish. If I really believe the action is over there, why do I march in this direction? I either had to change my goal or change what I did. So I changed something I did and I marched in the direction I thought was important. It's that easy. "
All the stuff I've worked on over the years - wireless
- the web
- embedded linux
- handheld computers
- cell phones
- music creation technology
- have become solved problems. Voip? Solved problem - although not solved
how I would wish
When I quit the computer field there wasn't anything left interesting to think about.
I am still trying to get into another field entirely, but over the past year...
The past year I've spent thinking about new problems... mostly related to parallelism. Moore's law has hit a wall. Serialised coding is dead, although there is plenty left to be done, and writing parallel code, and/or working with clusters of machines, is a achingly hard problem. I've explored languages - new (erlang) and old(LISP), English and Spanish, and the history of computation itself, looking for some avenue, some lever, to leverage the new methodology. Almost nothing but dead ends already plumbed by others... Almost.
I've gotten more abstract thought done on a surfboard in the past year than in the previous decade... I just wish I had some means to write those thoughts down while still drifting on the ocean - (waterproof recorder?) - because by the time I rattle home in the back of a mud covered jeep often only the outline of a glimmering insight remains.
I think I've absorbed enough mathematics and vector architecture specifics to improve performance on one problem I care about deeply by 20-200% on an x86_64 and several hundred % on a true vector architecture such as CUDA. I hope to have some tangible results soon. The karmic royalties on that ought to justify my continued existence for decades.
I shelved work on another project last year, due to lack of a solid cryptographic solution, that I might be able to resume after some more of my parallel explorations prove out. It's hard work... but I have to say my office environment is currently rather ideal.
In other news... (I haven't not been writing here for a reason, and the above and the below are it, I barely even read email anymore and don't even have a phone - and am on a seemingly endless diet of rice and beans and pollo... but although I scrape by with an ever diminishing bank account the seemingly endless free time to think about and focus on the big problems seems worth it)
I have been working on a new CD! Here is the current mix of the best song off of it: Backyard
I'm playing bass on the whole record. I never would have imagined doing that before. I was always a piano player.
Be back in a month or two. Maybe.
Labels: math, music